While many of our local economies are beginning to take slow steps to reopen, we know for sure the implications for the coronavirus pandemic will be long lasting.
Caring for our members, customers, partners, and employees, as this situation evolves will require a long term, sustainable response.
We are uniquely positioned as a mission-driven health solutions enterprise, to respond to this pandemic in meaningful ways.
Our holistic approach to health care is what sets us apart. Our work goes far beyond providing quality health insurance, and the compassion we're demonstrating during these unprecedented times is reflected in our response efforts across our family of companies.
An op-ed piece recently published in the New York Times claimed that some in our industry are profiting from this pandemic, because elective procedures are on hold, and fewer people are going to the doctor, meaning claims are way down. Some of you may have seen it or have seen other negative coverage of the industry's actions in the wake of COVID-19.
The New York Times piece compares health insurers to auto insurers, some of whom are lowering premiums, or giving rebates, because driving and accidents have decreased.
But health insurance is different from auto insurance. Car accidents that are avoided today will not happen tomorrow. But deferred medical care will still need to be delivered.
We anticipate a surge when our members feel safe enough to schedule their regular checkups and procedures.
So, a long-term approach is of critical importance for us and for them in helping our members and communities.
We're waiving costs for testing and treatment of COVID-19, providing flexibility around the payment of premiums, and increasing access to virtual tools and support.
Additionally, we've invested more than two million into our local communities to assist with urgent needs.
We've expedited claim payments to hospitals, and helped supply them with masks for their frontline health care workers. And just this week, we announced additional cost relief efforts.
For our Medicare Advantage members, we're waiving costs for the rest of 2020,for in-network primary care and behavioral health-related visits.
We're also increasing funding for our online wellness program for ACA and commercial members, allowing them to earn increased financial rewards they can apply toward their premium and other health care costs.
Organizations like ours must be prepared to cover all costs, both from COVID-19, which by the way, could exceed half a trillion dollars over two years, and the medical care we have always covered.
We stand ready to do both.